Book Review: In the End & In the After

In the After & In the End
Demitria Lunetta
YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Published: June 25th 2013 & June 24th 2014
4/5

                                              They hear the most silent of footsteps.
                                              They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
                                               And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.
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9780062105455_p0_v2_s260x420 I really enjoyed this duo! It wasn’t what I expected at all and I’m really happy that I tried something out that I hadn’t heard much hype about. The first half of the first book was fantastic and then I took a turn that I hadn’t quite expected in the end and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first but have decided I really liked the plot twist. It sets up the next book pretty well and overall it was a face paced and enjoyable read with a fairly complex story plot for a YA novel.
Baby was a great character, I found her interesting and at times really frustrating because even after finishing the series I feel like I didn’t get to learn enough about her, or at least learn everything I wanted to about her backstory and why things turned out the way they did for her a little more. She was very strong willed and seemed very adaptable, and again there were aspects of her character that I really wish had been delved into a little bit deeper.
Amy was a strong female character, independent from other people; which was refreshing. I really liked that she could hold her own, and that she fought every step of the way for what she believed in and for those who she cared about. She was 100% focused on her mission and despite distractions she kept on a one way track to get to her end game.
It was fantastic that not everything was what it seemed and that we got to travel so much in this new world with Amy as she set about getting things done. Demitria did a fantastic job creating a world that was vivid and easy to imagine. Those creatures were terrifying and I’m very thankful I’m not having to deal with them on a regular basis.18140842
There were some aspects to this duo that I wasn’t a huge fan of, like all the unanswered questions and plot holes. There were a lot of things that were mentioned and never really explained or touched on again. The side characters sometimes really blended into each other and I lost track of who was who a couple of times, though that may have been my fault as I was reading so fast because I was so excited to find everything out. The science was a little weird but realistically it also made a little sense so perhaps most of my issues with that was the fact that it was done so poorly but they did/do have limited resources.
The ending of this duo was really open, and I feel like if the author wanted to write another book or write another story that took place in the same universe she certainly could just because there were so many unanswered questions and blank spots in the plot line. It could be really interesting having a story revolving around baby when she was older perhaps.
Over all a very fantastic, quick paced and action packed read. Really easy to follow plot line and development. I highly recommend binge reading this two books!

Book Review: The Humans

The HumansImage
Matt Haig
Science Fiction
Published: July 2nd, 2013
5/5

                The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with what may be his best, funniest, and most devastating dark comedy yet. When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his frist impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry back home to the utopian world of his own planet, where everyone enjoys immortality and infinite knowledge
                He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, and their capacity for murder and war, and he is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he had been led to believe. Disguised as martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, and develops an ear for rock music and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family and in picking up the pieces of the professor’s shattered personal life, he begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfections and to question the mission that brought him there.
                Praised by The New York Times as a ‘novelist of great seriousness and talent,’ Matt Haig delivers an unlikely story about human nature and the joy found in the messiness of life on earth. The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject – ourselves.

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The Humans was a delightful surprise for me. I had not heard much discussion about the book in the community that I’m involved with online but I found the synopsis intriguing. An Alien takes over the body of a mathematics professor that has just solved the most important Mathematical question to humanity to date. He is expected to destroy all evidence and halt the advancement of humanity. However, along the way he begins to develop a sort of infatuation with humanity and strives to discover what exactly it means to be ‘human.’
               I thought that the character development of the unnamed Alien was fascinating and refreshing. I really enjoyed seeing him grow and to begin to question what he thought he knew. Despite the advancement of his society the primitive nature of human emotions stumped him and the social queues often left him quite confused.
                The humans is extremely funny and entertaining, the chapters are very short and that makes it really easy to read in short bursts. The story also gets quite dark at times, and I felt that helped counteract the unrealistic nature of some of the scenes.
                Overall this was an insightful, touching and completely original story. I’m extremely happy I took a chance with a book that I had not heard much about and I am greatly looking forward to reading more books written by Matt Haig.
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Book Review: Burial Rites

Burial RitesImage
Hannah Kent
Historical Fiction based on true events
Published: September 10th 2013
5/5

                Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
                Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Toti, a priest Anges has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’ death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
                Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

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                Burial Rites is based on the true life account of Agnes Magnusdottir the last person executed in Iceland on January 12th, 1830. She, and man named Friorik Sigurosson where charged for the murder of Nathan Ketilsson, and Petur Jonsson that took place on March 14th, 1828. They were executed by beheading.
                This was a fascinating and beautifully told story. Burial Rites is one of the best tales I’ve read in a few years. It is one of those novels that leave a mark on your soul; the story will linger with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
                The writing was beautiful; I found myself becoming immersed in the language and haunting thoughts of Anges as she awaited her fate. I found her relatable; my heart was broken for her most of the story. I wished the book would end differently; despite knowing that it was based on a factual event.
                Anges was a great lead character. I really enjoyed reading about her life from childhood up until she ended up on the farm. By the end of the book I felt like I knew her personally, but not in a way that I found myself overwhelmed by information in regards to the development of the plot.
                I also ended up liking the family at the farm by the end of the book. It was beautiful to see them all come together. The courage and strength the lent Anges in the end was unfathomable in it’s greatness. Despite the coldness and perhaps even hatred they all felt towards her in the beginning, it was so lovely to see some of them turn around and offer her pity, understanding and compassion in the end.
                Overall I thought the book was well written and developed and though we don’t know how the actual events took place it was interesting to read one possible side to the story. I greatly recommend this book to my blog readers, I don’t think you’d regret it!
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Book Review: Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)Image
Charline Harris
Adult Paranormal Romance
Published: 2001
Publisher: Ace Books
3/5

 

            Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She’s quiet, she keeps to herself and doesn’t get out much. Not because she’s not pretty, because she is, but because Sookie has this sort of ‘disability.’ She can read minds, and that doesn’t make her too dateable.
            Then along comes Bill, he’s tall, dark, handsome – and Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life…
            But Bill has a disability of his own; he’s a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of –big surprise- murder. And when one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next…

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Dead until Dark is a super popular series, at least I think it is. It seems to be at any rate Aand despite my interest I’m actually pretty glad I didn’t invest an actual money into reading this book.
            Sookie is immature, flat, boring, and really inexperienced in all ways of the world which I find hard to believe given her upbringing and her ability to read minds. In my opinion after a life time of hearing people’s thoughts you would think she would be more hardened, more modest and less… well just less like the way she is.
            It’s hard for me to feel any pity for anyone in this book, or feel any kind of sadness because she bounces back so quickly. Oh! Someone’s dead well big deal, I’d better go moon over the creepy vampire.  She also falls in love way to easily for someone who has heard the lusty thoughts of other people her whole life. She’s extremely trusting for someone who has so much knowledge. Also on a side note, if I was the American President I would have her on my staff as some type of spy. Obviously she’d be a great asset in discovering whom in your staff had intentions that were for anyone other than yourself. Talk about learning who is actually loyal and who is actually just looking out for themselves or in some cases someone else!
            Also, Bill, bleh, ugh, ick! Not my kind of tall dark and handsome! He’s also flat, boring and utterly predictable. They both suffer from a serious case of insta-love and it’s the kind of insta-love that really doesn’t make much sense.
            I found myself confused a lot by who the characters were and by what was going on because Sookie jumped around so much in terms of who she knew and how she knew them. Also there is just a slew of character introductions right form the get go witch I find is usually an auto fail for me in most books.
            despite all these falls it was an extremely easy read, it’s not highly detailed, nor is the plot thick and devious, in fact I almost feel like I could skip ahead two books and would be able to fallow along with realitive ease, other than not knowing who anyone was of course. I also was able to finish the book which is rare for me, usually when I really dislike a book I don’t even bother finishing it, which is why I post so many 4 and 5 star reviews. It’s not very often I’ll stick through something like this, which in the end is probably why I gave it three stars instead of two, I was feeling generous.
            Anyways, this book was a great disappointment for me and I am fairly positive I won’t be bothering with the rest of the series. My Library doesn’t have the next book anyways.

            What book have you read that’s left you feeling disappointed!?

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BOOK REVIEW: Insurgent

Insurgent (Divergent #2)Image
Veronica Roth
Dystopian YA
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: May 1st 2012
4/5

 

One Choice can transform you… Or destroy you

                Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves – and herself – while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
                Tris’ initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grow. And in the times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable – and even more powerful.
                Transformed by her own decisions but also by her haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so

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                Divergent ended with such a fantastic bang, that I knew despite already having purchased Insurgent I was going to be waiting to read it until Allegiant come out.  I was really excited when I could escape back into the fictional world that Veronica Roth created.  The world building and back story that she has created came through flawlessly in Insurgent, a book that was considerably more action packed than Divergent.
                Insurgent runs high on emotions as politics, family loyalties and friendships are called into question and tough choices have to made. The overall emotional intensity of this books sets it apart from other Young Adult fiction novels that I’ve read and I found that refreshing.  Veronica Roth has a way of exploring more mature themes but in a way that regardless of your age you’re able to identify and relate too.
                The relationship between Four and Tris is constantly tested throughout this book, and despite their differences, personal issues and their young age they deal with them maturely, with unconditional love and compassionate understanding once they allow each other in. They’re both hurting for different reasons and together they are stronger than they ever would be apart. Together, they are an unbreakable force, they are a team and one that I certainly wouldn’t want to tangle with.
                Four’s family background and beliefs are called into attention quite a few times in this book and we learn a lot more about him, mostly why he is the way he is today.  He had very strong character development through out this novel. His loyalty to Tris is unwavering, he is heartwarming to read.
                Over all Insurgent was a good read. It left you waiting for the next and final installment in the series.
                I will be posting the review for Allegiant tomorrow and then will be posting a discussion piece on the series as a whole.
                Let me know what you thought of this book! I’m interested in knowing.

Book Review: Fire

Fire (Graceling Realm #2)Image
Kristin Cashore
Young Adult Fantasy
Published: 2009
Publisher: FireBird
4/5

                It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
                This is where fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
                Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, the royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there’s more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
                If only she weren’t afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

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                I really enjoyed Fire. Despite complaints that I’ve seen in regards to Fire character I found her engaging and believable because I know firsthand that beauty can be a curse. Beauty can also leave you feeling entitled and considering Fire is so very desirable I find her to fit the role quite well.
                Fire is sweet, sensitive and trying to figure out how to deal with her past while forging a happy future, the sins of our past can really detour us from the potential we all hold and I believe Fire does a fantastic job bringing that to light. I was very pleased that she did out use her powers for selfish gain and that her uses of power were to either defend her-self or help defend the kingdom.
                I really enjoyed the character developments and how the relationships between characters evolved and changed throughout the course of the book. I found all the characters had a strong voice, strong personalities and were all easily imaginable as I read through the book. They all blended in nicely. My only issue with character development was with Leck, since he is mentioned in the prologue I figured he would have a more definitive role in ‘Fire’ however, he was hardly mentioned at all and I found that part of the novel to fall flat, which is why I’ve given Fire four stars instead of five.  I was really looking forward to his development and the issues he’d bring so I was very disappointed in that regard.
                Thought that Kristin Cashore did a great job describing grief; grief is a dark, depressing, and horrible feeling, it was written truthfully and in a way that you identify with.
                I really enjoyed this novel and I am very much looking forward to reading BitterBlue.
                Have you read Fire? What did you think about it?

4 Books I’d Love to Read

Wish List (#1)

1.            Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea written by April Tucholke Image
                                Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight, and that’s just how River likes it.
                                                                Set to be released: Fall 2013

2.            The Coldest Girl in Coldtown written by Holly BlackImage
                                Tana lives in a world where walled cities are called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is once you pass through Coldtown’s gates you can never leave.
                                One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret.
                                                                Set to be released: Fall 2013

3.            Crooked House written by Agatha Christie
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In the Sprawling, half-timbered mansion in the affluent suburb of Swinly Dean, Aristide Leonides lies dead from barbiturate poisoning, an accident? Not likely…
                                In fact, suspicion has already fallen on his luscious widow, a cunning beauty fifty years his junior, set to inherit a sizable fortune and rumored to be carrying on with a strapping young tutor comfortable ensconced in the family estate but criminologist Charles Hayward is casting his own doubts on the innocence of the entire Leonides brood. He knows them intimately and he’s certain that in a crooked house such as Three Gables, no one’s on the level…
                                                                                Currently on Sale

4.                            Blood Red Road Written by Moira Young
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Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving on landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around, but when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba’s world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
                                                                                Currently on Sale